Well it’s that time of year again where the Red Rocks make their annual trip to nationals. For the followers of this blog, you know that I respect the hell out of how hard gymnasts work but that I don’t get the scoring and the sport. I’ve wanted to do a bit more on gymnastics, since we’re actually good at it, but I have no idea what to say. Thankfully, my friend Jeff and I’m guessing with an assist from his lovely wife Anna have written down a few things, so you can know what to expect when things kick off. Enjoy…
Gymnastics national championships begin Friday at noon eastern, 10 mtn. 12 teams qualify for nationals and are broken into 2 sessions based on their qualifying scores from regional qualifying meets. Utah won their regional, but it was a lower scoring regional so Utah is the 7th seed. They compete in the morning session with fellow PAC 12 teams UCLA and Stanford, as well as Oklahoma, Nebraska and LSU. Luckily for Utah, the four SEC teams with the largest fan followings will be in the evening sessions so the crowd in the early session shouldn’t be too hostile. The top three teams from each session move on to the super six to do it all again.
Utah is facing familiar teams. This will be their third meet against UCLA, Stanford, and Nebraska. They have not competed against LSU or Oklahoma this year. Utah is 0-2 against UCLA, but both meets Utah would have won had they not had to count a fall while UCLA did not count a fall, proving that Utah has the power to beat UCLA if they can hit. Utah is 1-1 against Nebraska, losing at home in the regular season on Nebraska’s best night of the year but redeeming in the postseason regional meet. Utah is 2-0 against Stanford, winning in both the regular season and beating them in PAC12 championships.
Utah’s rotation is a problem for them. The start on the floor then vault, their two best events. They then go bye, bars where they have struggled most the season but figured it out in the two postseason meets, and then finish beam, bye. Utah’s PAC12 championship hopes fell off the beam when they had to count a fall. Finishing on a bye is never good because scores tend to increase as the meet progresses because judges have seen other routines and have a better judging barometer.